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Terrorist threats on the rise


UN report points at ADF, ISIL, al Qaeda

Kampala, Uganda | THE INDEPENDENT | Aug. 26: A suspected suicide bomber identified as Katumba Abdul aka Ben was arrested by military intelligence personnel in Pader Town Council with an assortment of home bomb making materials. These included already assembled bombs, bomb carrier bags, ball bearings, suicide vests, detonators, ammonium sulfate, wire cutters, switches, and mobile phones used to detonate bombs.

According to a statement by the Ministry of Defense Spokesperson, Brig, Flavia Byekwaso, the suspect intended to set off the bombs during the burial of the late Deputy Inspector General of Police, Maj. Gen. Paul Lokech which took place the next day, Aug.27.

Aug 25:  A gunman killed three police officers, a private security guard, and injured six people in the diplomatic quarter of Tanzania’s main city Dar es Salaam. The suspected terrorist was shot dead while holed up in a guardhouse at the French Embassy’s gate. The attack has been linked to ISIL rebels in Mozambique.

Aug.23:  Police in the Kenyan city of Mombasa arrested two suspected terrorists allegedly connected to al-Shabab, another ISIL affiliate operating in Somalia. The police say they recovered two fully loaded AK-47 rifles, machetes and explosive materials.

In June the Kenyan police arrest another terror suspect at a local trading center in Garissa County in northeast Kenya.

In April, the Kenyan anti-terrorism police said they had arrested two women suspected to be terrorists who had sneaked into the country with a cache of arms and ammunition, including an M4 sniper rifle, four pistols, close-quarter Uzi automatic submachine gun, and 3,700 bullets of different caliber.

Concerns confirmed

Incidents such as these appear to confirm concerns by counter-terrorism experts and members of the UN Security Council that terror networks; including al Qaeda and the Islamic State, “are expanding across Africa at an alarming rate”.

In a report to the UN Security Council on Aug.19, the UN Undersecretary –General, Vladimir Voronkov, who heads the UN Counter-Terrorism Office, said the terrorists threats are expanding across Africa via al Qaeda and the Islamic State affiliates.

“Today, we face transnational terrorist threats like Da’esh and Al-Qaeda that are enduring and able to adapt to new technologies, but also expanding to include individuals and groups that commit terrorist attacks connected to xenophobia, racism and other forms of intolerance,” said Voronkov.

Voronkov briefed the Council on the eve of the fourth commemoration of the International Day of Remembrance of and Tribute to the Victims of Terrorism, observed annually on 21 August.

Vornkov said while ISIL remains focused on reconstituting its capabilities in Iraq and Syria, the most alarming development in recent months is the group’s relentless spread across the African continent.

He said the so-called `Islamic State in the Greater Sahara’ has killed several hundred civilians since the start of 2021 in Mali, Burkina Faso and Niger, while the group’s `West Africa Province’ will likely gain from the weakening of Boko Haram, with additional spillover of terrorists and foreign fighters from Libya.

Meanwhile, the expansion of ISIL in Central and East Africa – and especially in northern Mozambique – could have far-reaching implications for peace and security in the region.

`The 13th report of the Secretary-General on the threat posed by ISIL (Da’esh) to international peace and security and the range of United Nations efforts in support of Member States in countering the threat’ was prepared  by  the Analytical  Support  and  Sanctions  Monitoring  Team  and  the  Counter-Terrorism Committee Executive Directorate in close collaboration with the Office of Counter-Terrorism and other UN entities and international organisations.

The report said the threat posed by the terrorists Islamic State (IS) to international peace and security has remained significant and steady over the past six months, raising serious international concerns.

Focus on ADF

It specifically mentioned the expansion of the so-called Islamic State group (ISIL or Da’esh) in the DR Congo under its affiliate, Allied Democratic Forces (ADF); the Ugandan rebel group of Jamil Mukulu.

Although Mukulu has been in detention in Uganda since his arrest in 2015, the ADF remains active under the leadership of his son-in-law, Seka Musa Baluku.

The group has been linked to the recent June 01 failed assassination attack on Gen. Katumba Wamala, the Minister of Works and Transport.

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